Milan-Salernitana Preview: Curtain Call

Saturday is not only the last match of the season, it is the last Milan match ever for Giroud, Kjaer, and we know now that it will also be Pioli's last match in charge as well. Who knows who else will leave this summer, as this management do not know the definition of loyalty and definitely are not putting their money where their mouths are when it comes to selecting a new manager. Many of us Milan fans have said all along that there is no point in sacking Pioli unless you have a better manager lined up. Fonseca, their reported choice, does not appear to be better in any way at all, he's just new. This is also the last Serie A match for Salernitana, who have been relegated to Serie B. For so many people, this will be like the curtain call on the stage that is Milan's San Siro.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Salernitana know what it is to try to better their fortunes with a new manager, as Colantuono is their fourth manager of this season alone. We faced their second manager, our legendary Pippo Inzaghi, in December, when we drew 2-2 in a very underwhelming performance. Salernitana have only two league wins this season, and Pippo was responsible for both. So far, under Colontuano, the team from Salerno have two draws and six losses since he replaced the former Milan striker.

Being the bottom of the table's 4th choice manager makes you question your life choices.

Their most recent match was a 2-1 loss to Verona on Monday, one of the two teams they had previously defeated this season. For that match, Colantuono lined up: Fiorillo; Pierozzi, Fazio, Pirola; Zanoli, Coulibaly, Bašić, Sambia; Tchaouna, Kastanos; and Weissman. For this match, Colantuono will be missing Bašić due to suspension for card accumulation. Also missing will be Ochoa, Gomis, and Jérôme Boateng (not our former player, his very controversial brother.) Gyomber is also battling to regain fitness for this match.

Pioli will be emotional, I'm sure, and he also has to decide who to give time to in the last match of the season. Two players who will definitely not play are Chukwueze, who sustained a muscle injury that ended his season early, and Maignan, who dislocated his finger in training on Thursday, so will not be available. However, Kjaer returned to training this week, and while he may not start, Pioli will likely allow him some minutes to play one last time in the Milan shirt. Giroud is likely to start for the same reason.

The new home kit for 2024-25.

Speaking of shirts, Milan are debuting their new home kit for next year at this match. Response has been largely positive, mainly because of the return of the almost solid wide stripes (the red stripes have a small stripe within the stripe.) The very white crew neck collar and cuffs are very obtuse, but not as jarring as the bizarre white panel under the arm

The solid red back and white side panels are leaving fans scratching their heads.

Also very disappointing is the solid red back. I have seen discussions about the Serie A and UEFA rules about kit backs involving striped kits, so numbers are easily identifiable, and I am not entirely sure this design was due to a rule, but rather a preference. (It will cause more people to personalize their jerseys rather than leave that space blank, which increases profits.) Also, the red color is a slightly washed orange-red, not a true Milan red, as it should be, so they look cheap, which is a shame, considering next season will mark Milan's 125th anniversary.

At least our goalkeepers will look awesome.

Saying goodbye is hard to do. Giroud has been absolutely immense for us in his three years at Milan. For such a tiny transfer fee, he has scored nearly fifty goals for us, including important ones like his infamous brace to win the Derby. Not only did he break the curse of the number nine jersey, he helped us win the Scudetto, and provided much needed leadership for this young team. His return to form at Milan helped him earn a spot at the World Cup with France, where he broke France's all-time scoring record, too. He is a world class player who has won it all, and we are losing so much with his exit.

Giroud always stepped up whenever and wherever we needed him to.

Speaking of leadership, we are also losing our last Viking, Kjaer. To put into words how massive his influence has been is virtually impossible. He has been the indomitable defender we could always turn to, always giving more than 100% whenever called upon. As the captain of Denmark's national team, he was literally a lifesaver, as well as their strongest defender, and was even nominated for the Ballon d'OrHis injury was absolutely heartbreaking, but he still offered leadership off the pitch during his recovery. And he had no problems being a true Viking on the pitch, either, with one of my favorite memories being of him screaming at a statuesque Tatarusanu to do his job better when he was letting goals in like water in a sieve. A Milanista since he was young, his absence will be a huge loss for the team as a whole. 

The Viking who could defend against the best.

While so many fans were against Pioli from before he even signed, with the criticism toward him reaching a fever pitch this season, he has done so much for this club during the five years he has been here. Considering he was initially brought in to stabilize a young team after whatever happened with Giampaolo, he has worked miracles. Pioli has seen two owners, two CEOs, two technical directors, and three sporting directors. He also successfully brought this team through a global pandemic, as it seems bringing teams through trauma seems to be his specialty now. During that time, in addition to developing so much young talent for this club, he brought Milan back to the Champions League, won our first Scudetto in 11 years, and even took us to a Champions League Semifinal

Pioli created a sense of unity and family as well as belief like no manager in recent memory had.

Anyone attempting to fill his shoes is going to have a very tough job. There are very few managers who could survive at any big club for five years, let alone these past five years at Milan with so many changes and such extreme pressures. And not only did he survive, he accomplished so much. He also created not just a team, but a family. The level of belief he has instilled in these players as well as the unity he created in the worst of times is unbelievable. He has done so much more with so much less than even managers who give themselves more accolades. And yet he has done it all with the dignity and grace befitting a Milan manager. He also leaves with class, a mutual agreement that spares the Club the embarrassment of sacking the manager who exceeded their expectations for him.

A farewell that we will likely regret, Grazie, Mister.

There will no doubt be many tears on Saturday, and I truly hope the Curva Sud finally show up again after their four week absence boycotting for clarity about something that even they don't seem to be clear about. Salernitana deserve a proper goodbye to Serie A in one of the biggest stadiums, they have spent an impressive three years in the top flight. But most of all, our team deserve an ovation for all they have done this year, particularly our departing players. And no one deserves a bigger show of gratitude for five incredible years than Pioli. Take a bow, mister, this is your curtain call.

This post inspired by the music of Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You"

Our next match is 
Serie A Week 38
Milan vs. Salernitana
Saturday, May 25, 2024 • 20:45 CEST (2:45pm EDT)
In the U.S., you can use a VPN to access a Serie A provider elsewhere
For example, sign up for BeIN Sports in Australia or SuperSport in South Africa,
they both use the World Feed commentary for Serie A, which is fantastic
(*and they also do not sponsor Inter's kits)

Milan-Salernitana Preview: Curtain Call Milan-Salernitana Preview: Curtain Call Reviewed by Elaine on 12:55 AM Rating: 5
Powered by Blogger.